Even with all the Star Wars content coming our way, it’s still a strange time to be a Star Wars fan. The sequel trilogy was highly divisive, to say the least, not to mention the polarizing response to the firing of Gina Carano from The Mandalorian. Some people were straight up demanding it, while others are calling a cancel to cancel culture and Disney+. But for real, why would Disney and Lucasfilm cancel the streaming service that is carrying their number one asset? The answer: they won’t, because it would be a very bad idea. Whether or not Disney makes amends with Gina Carano, The Mandalorian will go on.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about a little gamble here that might make many Star Wars fans pretty angry. Here’s a hint: it has to do with a certain director that many Star Wars fans don’t want around the franchise. And honestly, who can blame them? If you’re a Star Wars geek and have kept up with the franchise, you already know who I’m talking about. That’s right, the man who directed eight installment of the franchise, Rian Johnson. That name is basically a buzzer for Star Wars fans.
So I bring all this up because reports are suggesting that Rian Johnson may be interested in directing an episode of The Mandalorian. Yes, I know how that sounds. I can already hear the cries of outrage from Star Wars fans, but let’s put on the brakes for a minute. I’ll just come right out and ask if this is a good idea? On the surface, I would say no, but I did some thinking about this. Let’s begin by doing a little recap on who wants Rian Johnson on board.
In an interview with USA Today, Rian Johnson was asked if he was interested in directing an episode of The Mandalorian. Johnson confirmed that he did visit the set when they started shooting, was able to hold Baby Yoda, and even had talks with Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau about directing. This is really no surprise, considering the show has brought on several high-profile directors.
No matter what you say or think about The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson has had a successful career with directing big movies. Look at Looper and his most recent movie, Knives Out. Both are highly successful movies, both critically and financially, so much that Knives Out is spawning two more sequels. This is good news for Rian Johnson, but it also means he’ll have his hands full for the future. In fact, based on what he told USA Today, the only thing holding him back from directing an episode of The Mandalorian would be his scheduling. As of now, he’s busy writing Knives Out 2, so I can’t imagine him joining season 3.
After Netflix bought the rights for $450 million, that’s got to be a very handsome paycheck for Rian Johnson. Yeah, he’s not giving up on that, especially since Knives Out did ten times better critically than The Last Jedi did. Rian Johnson also knows that fans love Knives Out much more than The Last Jedi, so I can’t blame him for being more dedicated to the former. However, despite the scheduling issues, there’s still a chance for him to join The Mandalorian team officially as one of the directors. Now once again, let’s ask ourselves if he should. We already know that he would if the chance arises, but do we even want him to?
I feel like the majority of fans would say no to that. More importantly, Lucasfilm and Disney would be taking a risk if they do bring him on. It would be a gamble, but personally, I’m not totally opposed to the idea. The optimist in me says let him direct one episode as a way to let him redeem himself. Okay, that sounds a little overdramatic, but I know many fans feel the same. I’ve written about my feelings for The Last Jedi before, but it shouldn’t forever taint Rian Johnson’s name. And what about his supposed trilogy that he was supposed to direct? He keeps giving us the usual “we’ll see” response, so I would just take it as a no. That’s usually what that response means anyways, right?
Well, The Last Jedi also made more money than the other Star Wars movies. That accomplishment alone could make Disney to want to keep him around. The thing is, I have no idea what his idea for an episode of The Mandalorian could be. Maybe Mando takes Baby Yoda to a casino and lets him ride alien horses. Yeah, probably not, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious. I’d like to think whatever he has in mind would be cool for The Mandalorian, but I also can’t forget the dumb things in The Last Jedi. I can’t help but think he would add something like that to The Mandalorian. If he does, Disney would receive some serious backlash from the fans. And after the Gina Carano situation, I don’t think Disney and Lucasfilm can’t afford anymore negative fan reception. I mean, haven’t they taken enough already?
So on the upside, Rian Johnson is an accomplished director. He can possibly bring something great to The Mandalorian and we’d all be happy. Think of it as his way of apologizing for The Last Jedi. But on the downside, we already saw what he had to offer for Star Wars. Needless to say, very many Star Wars fans didn’t like it. His episode could be a repeat of history and tick off the fanbase even more. I’m confident Disney will deliver with their upcoming shows, especially the Obi-Wan series. If they do, the last thing they need is more intense negative backlash.
So is bringing back Rian Johnson back to direct for The Mandalorian a risk? Very much so. Is it a necessary risk? I’m still a bit iffy on that, only because I would be curious to see what he has in mind for the show. It’s a gamble, but if Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau have faith in him, then maybe we should too. It can’t be any worse than The Last Jedi, right? Maybe we’re better off not asking that.